Thursday, July 9, 2015

Massachusetts! Take action NOW to protect adult access to vapor products from multiple threats!

Several bills are scheduled to be heard in the Joint Committee on Public Health on Tuesday, July 14th at 1:00 PM. We have provided a summary of the bills below. You will see that the proposed regulations range from obvious (prohibiting sales to minors), to predictable (public vaping ban), to dangerous (requiring burdensome testing by manufacturers that would result in all or most e-liquids being banned from sale in MA, raising the age to purchase ALL “tobacco products” to 21 -- even low-risk, smoke-free products like snus and e-cigarettes).


Legislative Summary:

HB 1954 (Same as SB 1137):
  • Redefines “tobacco products” to include “electronic cigarettes” and other vapor products
  • Prohibits the sale of “tobacco products” in any retail establishment that “operates or has a health care institution within it, such as a pharmacy, optician/optometrist, or drug store…”

HB 2050 (Same as SB 1119):
  • Redefines “tobacco products” to include “electronic cigarettes” and other vapor products
  • Prohibits the use of “tobacco products” in schools
  • Prohibits the sale of “tobacco products” to any person under the age of 18
  • Redefines “smoking” or “smoke” to include the use of “electronic cigarettes” and other vapor products.
  • Prohibits vaping in public places where smoking is currently banned.

  • Would require manufacturers to file annual reports with the MA Department of Health which identify the “concentration of any toxins contained in the vapor produced by an e-cigarette when used…”
  • Provides an outrageous fine -- $10,000 per day -- for understating the concentrations of toxins within a range to be determined by the DOH.

  • Directs the Department of Public Health to develop regulations “for restricting the marketing, labeling, and restricting youth access to so-called ‘Other Tobacco Products’.”

  • Redefines “tobacco product” to include “electronic cigarettes” and other vapor products.
  • Prohibits the sale of “tobacco products” to anyone under the age of 21.

  • Would require “tobacco retailers” to conspicuously post a sign directing customers to the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation & Prevention Program and The Smokers Helpline.


Despite the numerous bills that CASAA opposes, there are a few that can be considered thoughtful and appropriate:

  • HB 1943 would direct the Department of Public Health to conduct a study on the use of Tobacco Harm Reduction as a means to reducing smoking rates. While the Bill as currently written is seriously problematic, CASAA is attempting to engage with the sponsor to help it meet its positive goals.
  • HB 1951 would prohibit local Boards of Health from banning the sale of legal “tobacco products.” (You may remember an incident from 2014 when Westminster, MA attempted to implement a ban on all tobacco sales.)
  • HB 3466 would prohibit sales of vapor products to anyone under the age of 18 and manages to do so without confusing vapor products with combustible cigarettes.





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